Tony Abbott’s wild promise of $1.3billion for roads in Western Australia comes side-by-side with his plan to provide zero dollars for urban rail in our state, Greens Senator for WA Scott Ludlam warned today.
“It’s no wonder Colin Barnett has been dodging questions around how he will fund rail projects in WA, with his Federal Liberal counterpart planning to axe $500million in Federal funds for rail from Western Australia,” said Senator Ludlam.
“Rail is cleaner, safer, cheaper and more efficient than road - for commuters and for freight - yet Tony Abbott promises the sum total of zero dollars for urban rail in Western Australia.
“The International Monetary Fund and the Federal Government’s own studies indicate we will hit peak oil within the next five years, which will dramatically push up the price of petrol - already hovering around $1.50 a litre. Private vehicle use also contributes significantly to climate-changing pollution. Electric rail, on the other hand, can be powered by renewable energy. To pour Federal funds into roads while completely ignoring rail is the most extreme folly.
“The Greens have a detailed and costed plan for a comprehensive light rail system in Perth, and have consistently championed improved rail freight networks in Western Australia.”
The Greens light rail plan for Perth: http://greenswa.net.au/perth-light-rail.html
“The vast bulk of the State Government funding for the promised light rail and airport rail link occur outside the forward estimates of the most recent State Budget. The W.A. Government has insisted on keeping the content of its applications for Federal funding confidential, stonewalling my attempts to get more information through the Senate, and denied an FOI request from The West Australian. Premier Barnett must urge Mr Abbott to abandon his extreme plan to end Federal funding for urban rail.”